Pennsylvania Mail Carrier Received Meth and Marijuana for Drug Trafficking Organization

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to violation of federal narcotics laws related to a nine-month Title III wiretap investigation into drug trafficking in and around the counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, and Allegheny, United States Attorney Cindy Chung announced today.

Amy Bortot, age 52, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possesses with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and a quantity of marijuana before United States District Judge

Christy Criswell Wiegand. Bortot was one of 47 defendants charged in six related indictments as part of the Return to Sender investigation.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Bortot used her position as a United States mail carrier to receive parcels on behalf of Derek Hillebrand, the leader of the drug trafficking organization, that were shipped from California to the Western District of Pennsylvania. In total, Bortot received parcels containing approximately 4.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and 80 kilograms of marijuana.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for Bortot on Feb. 28, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a sentence of not less than ten years to a maximum of life in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The court ordered that the defendant remain on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Lusty and Michael R. Ball are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration led the multi-agency investigation of this case, which also included the Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Services, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. Also assisting were the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office, and the Clarion Borough Police Department.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.